Thursday, June 19, 2008

Time For BFFs

I'm not a text message kind of guy. I much prefer actual words to a series of letters that "stand in" for an entire sentence, sentiment, or action. But so effective have been the commercials for some phone companies that admittedly the BFF nomenclature associated with "texting" has a chance at becoming an actual part of the English language. For those of you, if any, also not into texting, BFF stands for "Best Friend Forever." I shouldn't, couldn't, and wouldn't use that term loosely. So a visit to Farmington, CT, to visit my BFF Steve was a much looked forward to event on the travel schedule for this year. Many moons ago, as my part Penobscot blood brother would say, we were both teachers in the Maine coastal town of Rockland. I taught English and Steve taught mathematics (and some chemistry). In my childhood, language and mathematics did not mix. I was pretty good with literature, poetry, drama on that side of the "equation" but a total disaster when it came to algebra, geometry, trigonometry. So finding so much in common with Steve came as a pleasant surprise, and for me the closeness with him has survived years of going in different directions in life, both career wise and geographically. Regular calls and contact by phone (NO text messaging!), e mails, and all too infrequent visits have kept us not only in touch, but also connected. I have lots of friends and wouldn't wish to dis any of them in any way, but Steve is the guy that grabs the numero uno placement in the department of friendship (I suppose that would be the DOF if we were texting this post?) If you could choose only one friend in life- he, or someone just like him- should be your choice. True friend, true to his word, generous to a fault, and always willing to "be there" if needed, no matter what. I would venture to say the world is populated with others like myself who would probably say he was their best friend as well....

My mathematical friend ditches the math and chemistry books and reads us poetry by Robert Service (The Cremation of Sam Mcgee) on the back porch of his Farmington, CT home. Service, it turns out is one of his favorite poets. Known as the poet to the gold prospectors for his extensive work in Alaska and the Yukon, Service happens to be one of our favorites as well and only a few short weeks ago we enjoyed listening to GPAA's Tom Massey reciting The Spell of the Yukon around a campfire ring in Athens, Michigan. Small world; tight circle!

A day trip with Steve and his terrific wife Cheryl to nearby Mystic Seaport made for a wonderful day. Before posing with the whale sculpture in front of the bookstore, we enjoyed a great lunch at a waterfront restaurant and took a stroll around the village. Marilyn and I have visited Mystic before so did not take in the aquarium there this time, but I do recommend it if this spot is on your list of destinations as they have one of the best Beluga whale displays in the country. There are also some dynamite galleries down town, some of which I worked with back in the days when we ran a gallery ourselves in Rockland, Maine.

The harbor at Mystic Seaport from the old, old drawbridge (below)

And speaking of BFFs, Abby (below) and Chyna (two photos down) became good buds during our visit, even sharing food, water bowls, and dog beds over our visit.

One good BFF deserves another! Steve and Cheryl helped us locate "Cousin Dottie." Marilyn has fond memories of all the special outings that the two of them had to New York when she was still in school. She had not seen Dottie in 37 years, so was super excited to look her up again at her home near Mystic. Our "by chance" surprise visit worked out very nicely, and it seems like we will see Dottie again in Cape Cod, the next "dot" on our travel schedule....

We also had news from another Cape (Coral) this week and another dear friend and former next door neighbor Michelle, whose way-too-young brother passed away unexpectedly. While we didn't know her brother really at all, our connection to her and her family made the news all too close to home. Being with Steve this week, and then hearing the news from Florida, brings home the truth that friendships are fragile even when they are strong, and life is short- no matter how long. The older I get the more I understand that life is precious and friends even more so. You will hear people say from time to time that you should appreciate life by living every day as though it could be your last. I don't know about that, but I certainly see the value in savoring time and friendship as two of the top assets you can have in this life.

1 comment:

Steve Tibbetts said...

The Greg Gundy That I Know

I write these words in hopes that Greg will allow them to be posted on his blog. I was deeply honored by the kind words that Greg used to describe our long and fulfilling friendship. Now, it is my turn.

I am sure that many of the regular blog readers know Greg Gundy, but I feel that I know him best. We are best friends.

Greg is a loving, sensitive, warm, funny (very), intelligent (highly), creative and thoughtful man. However, the one word I will use to describe him is honorable. Through thick and thin, I have seen him honor the love he carries for his son, Derek, his wife, Marilyn, and his dear friends. He has spent his life honoring his Mom and Dad, who are now in the twilight of their lives.

Greg has, and continues to honor the legacy that this father (a learned academian and WWII hero) passed on to him as a child. As long as I have known him, Greg has spoken with honor and adulation for his father. He has lived a life that appears to me to be modeled after that man. Throughout a life of constant learning, Greg has achieved remarkable things (as any devoted reader of his blog would know). With an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding of this world, Greg has emulated the father he loves so much, and in doing so has provided his father with the ultimate honor that a son could give.

Steve Tibbetts